In the planning stages of my epic trip to South Africa I initially dismissed the idea of visiting the wine regions. I know, I know! Utterly foolish. How can you visit South Africa and miss out on the fruits of its world-renowned winelands?!
I just had this image of two bored kids following their sozzled parents from vineyard to vineyard. It wasn’t a pretty thought. Well, this was until I started researching into families and wine tours. And guess what? It’s a thing! Unlike many other wine regions around the world the South African winelands are very accommodating towards families with kids. I’m talking playgrounds, picnics and animal encounters. There really are plenty of activities on offer to keep everyone entertained.
Pressed for time we decided on a day trip to the Cape Winelands with Cape Wine and Leisure Tours a sister company of Tsiba Tsiba Wine Tours. They provide personalised private tours in a relaxed and informal environment with a knowledgable guide. The free wifi on board the comfortable people carrier pleased me no end. It meant my instastories were actually instant for a change!
Colleen arrived to collect us from our apartment at 9am sharp. Once on board we headed out of Cape Town towards majestic scenery and famous wines. Around 45 minutes later we arrived at the Spier Wine Farm located on the banks of the Eerste River in the Stellenbosch area, for a bout of wine-tasting at 10am! (Definitely the way all days should start).
Spier is one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms established in 1692, the farm boasts a lush garden where you can enjoy a picnic with goods from their lovely deli, a classy restaurant, a luxury hotel and a wide range of activities. From an equestrian centre, a dedicated play area for children, a spa, guided walks or segway tours through the vineyards and eagle encounters.
We were here for the wine tasting. We opted for the Spier tasting for 40 Rand, which gives you a choice of five wines across the Spier range. Three from their Spier Signature range, I went for the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. One from the Spier Creative Block, named after the Spiers Art Academy Project the winemakers combine grapes from different vineyard blocks to curate unique tastes. And lastly one from the Spier 21 Gables range, which are wines named after their 21 historic gables. Mine was a rich and complex Chenin Blanc.
Mr S scratched his red wine itch and opted for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz. Married to a non red wine drinker, he was always going to make the most of this moment. If you’re a little peckish you can order one of the olive, cheese, or cured meat boards to snack on while you do the tasting. Or treat yourself and try the chocolate tasting pairing.
Whist we were transfixed on swirling, smelling, spitting (or let’s be honest, drinking). The girls also indulged in their own juice tasting with three grape juices and wine gums while learning about vineyard insects on their activity sheets.
Once we finally tore ourselves away from the wine we continued (merrily) on our tour. We spent an all-too-short hour exploring the small town of Stellenbosch: full of cafes, boutiques and art galleries.
The beautiful town is characterised by oak lined streets and whitewashed buildings, many of Cape Dutch origin.
There was one store we couldn’t miss out popping into. Oom Samie se Winkel, meaning ‘Uncle Sammy’s Shop’, is a Victorian style store that operates the same way now as it did back in the Victorian era.
The store has been a Stellenbosch institution since 1904. Your senses are on overdrive as soon as you step in. From the smell of tobacco, the sight of ostrich eggs and the different textures of leather products to the welcome sight of old fashion sweets. Its full of all sorts of bric-a-brac which has now turned it into a popular tourist attraction.
Next stop was Franschhoek, translated as the ‘French Corner’. It’s one of the oldest towns in South Africa, established by Huguenot refugees who named their farms after the towns they came from.
The French Huguenot settlers used the skills they learned in France to help establish the South African wine industry.
Located in a delightful little valley, guarded on all sides by imposing mountains it has become the gourmet capital of South Africa. Out of the top ten restaurants in South Africa, Franschhoek has three of them and one in the top 50 of the World.
One of my regrets on this trip was not spending a night or two in the area. Thankfully, we managed to enjoy a delightful lunch at La Petite Ferme. The restaurant offers one of the best views over the Franschhoek valley. Were it not for the rugged mountains in the distance, it reminded me of lazy days in Tuscany.
The fine-dining restaurant uses local produce in creative dishes with a global twist with a fantastic array of local wines. It’s a very popular destination, so I’d recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappoinment. You’ll be able to read my review soon on the blog.
Cape Wine and Leisure Tours work with you to put together the perfect tour for your family. You can create your own itinerary and set the pace for the day. Everything is organised with your personal preferences at the forefront. A private customised tour for a family of four is normally charged at 1750 Rand for adults and 200 Rand for children (price dependant on itinerary). This would include all entrance fees, wine tastings, a fully qualified guide and transport for the day.
It was the perfect way to enjoy a whistlestop tour of the Cape Winelands. I know on our next visit we’ll definitely dedicate more time to this area. It was wonderful to experience and now I know it’s not a part of South Africa to dismiss if you’re travelling as a family.
Isn’t it great when you know the kids are taken care of? What are your holiday tips for occupying the kids on holiday? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This post is a content collaboration and we received a complimentary tour with Cape Wine and Leisure Tours. All views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie. If you would like to book your own personalised tour you can do it through Cape Wine and Leisure Tours
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